Good morning everyone, thank you for coming to my Fathers memorial service
When I was young, my dad called me Big Dave, which was funny because I was a pretty small, runty kid. Sometimes people in the neighborhood would call me that to make fun of me, but my dad never meant it that way
But Dad was huge. He was so tall that when he picked me up and held me up over his head, it was like taking a high speed elevator.. I would go up and up... It made me dizzy
Dad was a big man, and I'd be tempted to say my Dad was a great man, but I think I'd be more accurate to say my dad was just a regular guy. My Dad did a lot of pretty impressive, even great things in his life I'm sure, but he didn't aspire to riches or greatness or have huge ambitions. He was just a normal guy, who above all valued family and friends.
Of course there were no strangers in my Dads life. Dad would always embarrass me by talking to absolutely everybody, and anybody, everywhere. He was definitely that guy. He would talk a strangers ear off if they let him.
And he was kind of a braggart, truth be told, he would certainly work his grandchildren into every conversation. But Dad seemed to make friends everywhere he went.
Dad set examples for me all my life. Dad always was working on things, and fixing things, and he showed me that you could figure out how things worked simply by looking at them carefully and thinking for awhile. I learned that the toilet, the garbage disposal, the water pump, all those things can be fixed, and it always takes at least two or three trips to the hardware store to do it.
But I learned from dad that you certainly shouldn't be intimidated by those things. An engineer could figure it out.
So frequently I learned by example.
Of course, I also sometimes learned what NOT to do by example. At the end of his career Dad was the technical director responsible for essentially everything that was powered by electricity in the US Navy, but that man did not seem to know what a torque wrench was.
Some of you know that every nut and bolt on an aircraft carrier or a car has a specification for how tight they should be. A torque wrench is a special tool that helps you set the tightness just right. I'm pretty sure dad knew this, but Dad would tighten every bolt to what could only be called 'Wisconsin tight'... It was always... Just a little.. tighter... Wham! Slipped wrench, round bolt heads, stripped threads, bloody knuckles... He never seemed to learn.
I have several torque wrenches. And a tap and die set. And some busted knuckles of my own
But the greater things that I learned from watching my Father were honesty, integrity, work ethic, friendship, devotion
My Dad really had great friends. I realized when I was young that people really liked my Dad. He had something in him that people liked, maybe even admired.
My mom notified Dads relatives in Wisconsin of his death and within hours got a call from Dick Olson, who has been friends with my Dad since kindergarten. They still kept in touch.
Dad kept in touch with his friends from Marshfield, and from Marquette, and from the Navy department all his life.
We used to joke about it, but when we used to travel on vacations back in my childhood we could literally be anywhere in the world, a national park, a train station in Europe, any airport, and we would inevitably hear someone shout "Hey Harv"
My Mom and Dad have been blessed with lifelong, devoted friendships with so many people from this church. This church had been the center of life for my Dad and my Mom, and I've always been so impressed with and envious of how strong these friendships have been. The Junghans, the Ryans, the Schnackenbergs, the Boehnes, the Davises. I can't list them all, but it was everyone.
I look back and frankly, I'm not that impressed by who I was when I was a teenager. But one thing I realized during those years, when I was thinking what a square, dud my dad was... He sure has a lot of really great, really devoted friends.
I realized back then that said a lot about what kind of a person my Dad really was. He certainly wasn't the coolest guy, or the funniest guy, but the funniest guys, and the coolest guys obviously liked him just fine.
Finally, my Dad certainly showed me the example of devotion.
35 plus years of service to the US Navy as an officer and then as a civil servant.
60 years of membership at Calvary Lutheran Church, including being an Elder, President of the School Board, President of the Congregation.
And my Dad loved the Wednesday morning Bible study.
And of course, the biggest thing in my Dad's life was 65 years of devotion to my Mother.
Dad showed me
how to be faithful,
how to serve,
how to be an employee,
how to be a friend,
how to be a son in law,
how to be a brother in law,
how to be a brother,
how to be a husband,
how to be a father,
how to be a man
I am certainly not saying that either of us have done all those things perfectly, not at all.
But i can say it's been a lot to live up to.
Dad was just a regular guy, but he was a extraordinary man